best free 3d modeling software for 3d printing

The Best Free 3D Modeling Software for 3D Printing 2021

Looking for the best free 3d printer modeling software or best slicer program? This article is all about finding the best beginner 3d printing software that works efficiently in every stage of your work. Every 3D print starts as a 3D model created on a modeling program. Previously, you needed to spend a lot of money and time to buy and learn these software programs.

These days, there are easy options available, and many of them are even free for educators, students, and open source programs. The list also includes the best 3d printer host software. Here is a list of the best 3D printer software for both beginners and professionals.

What software to use for 3D Printing?

In general, you need to have a single software tool for 3D printing, which is a slicing software. But, you need another software to create the 3D models to be used for printing later. So, the first thing you'll need is a 3D modeling software. 

If you desire to design a 3D printable model on your own, perhaps you need a 3D modeling software program. That specific software outputs the digital model in a standard OBJ or STL format. There is an abundance of more or less efficient tools for this purpose.

Slicing software is a must for 3D printing. The software converts your digital 3D models, which is basically an OBJ or STL file into standard printing instructions called G-code for the 3D printer. This code is sent to the printer where it gets executed and transformed into a 3D printout.

Best free 3d printer modeling software:

1. Tinkercad  

The program is designed to create 3D models. Tinkercad can be a great tool for solid modeling. The software has an intuitive concept of block-building and allows you to create models from a set of normal shapes. The software program has a lot of guides and tutorials for aspiring beginners.

You'll get the designs you're looking for. Tinkercad allows you to share and export your files with ease. With millions of designs available, you can find shapes of your choice and manipulate them according to your needs. With direct integration of third-party printing services, you can print your 3D models and get them delivered right at your doorsteps.

2. Blender 

 It is a feature-rich, open-source, and includes tools specifically made for simulation, animation, sculpting, motion tracking, rendering, and video editing. Blender has a sharp learning curve that makes it ideal for users who are ready to design complex 3D models. The software covers different facets of 3D creation.

Blender is free 3D modeling software intended for animation and rendering by utilizing polygonal modeling techniques. The software was initially developed for artists, but it is pretty accessible. The photorealistic rendering option is one of the interesting aspects of Blender. It gives the 3D models a feel of realism that other free programs don't give.

3. BRL-CAD  

What makes this software special is the fact that it was developed and used by none other than the US army to support electromagnetic and ballistic analyses. This software has an advanced solid modeling system including interactive geometry editing. It provides high-level precision.

BRL-CAD has a large library of both simple and complex shapes that you can change to make designs of your choice. In the beginning, the software was too costly. But, it was changed to open source not a long time ago. With more than 400 tools, the software runs smoothly without lag.

Best slicer program for 3d printing:

1. PrusaSlicer  

The software has gained immense popularity for a handful of reasons. It has an incredible list of tunable settings and has some useful features that can't be seen on many slicer software programs. The user interface is good to work with. 

Some of the key features include multi-material support, various layer height functions, and customizable support structures making it one of the best slicer programs. PrusaSlicer can slice models for both resin and FDM printers. Various modes allow you to edit settings depending on your skillset. Lots of settings can be customized for a smoothing effect.

2. Slic3r

 It is open-source software, and popular for providing cutting-edge features that you can't find anywhere. With Slic3r's innovative 3D honeycomb infill, it creates structured shapes in 3D in the innermost part of the print. A comprehensive manual is made available on their website that gives detailed insight into the features.

Features in this software include USB printing, support for DLP and SLA 3D printers, 3MF format, new infill patterns, and so on. Another important feature of Slic3r is the direct integration with another slicer software OctoPrint. 

3. KISSlicer  

Don't get fooled by the term for this software. It actually means "Keep It Simple Slicer". KISSlicer is a complex 3D printing software. Some users have praised a lot and considered it a worthy alternative, whereas some users complained about its confusing interface. Needless to say, KISSlicer is not for faint-hearted people.

While the free version fulfills the 3D printing needs of almost every user, the paid version enables multi-head 3D printing. KISSlicer makes slicing simple with Tuning Wizards intended for material optimization, and Profile Wizards for specific settings. Newer versions are released on a regular basis.

Best beginner 3d printing software:

1. 3D Slash  

Here is a 3D printing tool that's refreshingly different and easy to use. With this software, you can create 3D models using a building-block concept making it one of the best 3D printing software for beginners. Either begin with huge blocks and remove the smaller ones using tools like a hammer or start with a clean work-space and create a new model by adding cubes and other shapes.

Other features include a 3D text and a logo maker. The text maker allows you to add, format, and turn a text into 3D text. The logo maker can add an image and create a 3D model of it. Available as a free browser-based application, the paid version can be accessed offline on a few operating systems.

2. MatterControl 2.0  

It is a 3D printing and CAD software for your desktop. It features printer host functionality that allows you to control and monitor 3D printing when connected through USB. You can even slice the STLs and export them to an SD card for offline printing. You can also design in the software's CAD section.

Apart from the slicing features, MatterControl provides Design Tools that enable you to design various parts. Those parts could be transferred into the slicer and printed without effort. Other 3D printing software is programmed to provide a single purpose. But, MatterControl takes care of the entire process. 

3. Sculptris  

It is a virtual sculpting tool you can use to model clay. If your prime objective is to build figures or statues, Sculptris could be a fantastic software for 3D printing. With this software, you can create a bust of your most favored character from comic books or video games.

Targeted toward beginners, this tool has several features that make the sculpting process much easier. Sculptris is free to use and positions itself with the more expensive and sophisticated ZBrush tool. Compatible with ZBrush, you can import the meshes and take it to the next level. 

Best 3d printer host software:

1. OctoPrint  

Equipped with Wi-Fi, you can have full control of your printer through OctoPrint's web interface. It accepts G-code from a 3D printer slicer software tool and incorporates the gCodeVisualizer. You can slice the STL files into the OctoPrint using the print preparation package making this one of the best 3D printer host software there is today.

OctoPrint provides tools through which you can control the entire printing process remotely. It provides several ways to track your print jobs that are in progress. You can program OctoPrint to send you alerts or notifications through a number of messaging apps.

2. AstroPrint

 It is a cloud-based tool that allows you to monitor and control your 3D printers along with material profiles, printer profiles, and slicer settings. With a cloud account, you can store the information needed for a successful print. What makes AstroPrint special is its compatibility with MyMiniFactory and Thingiverse, along with CAD tools like Leopoly and 3D Slash. 

The cloud slicing engine enables you to slice the 3D models from your smartphone and send them to the 3D printer remotely. However, you need to pay for the advanced features. But creating an account gives you access to certain tools that help you manage and optimize your 3D printing process.

3. Repetier Host

This is a highly capable and open source software intended for slicing and 3D printer control. Repetier Host is one of the oldest and most favored choices in the RepRap maker community. Getting on with both the intermediate and advanced users, Repetier Host is an all-in-solution.

Some of its features include multi-slicer support through plugins, support virtually for all kinds of FDM 3D printers on the market, and multi-extruder support. Apart from this, Repetier Host provides remote access features through their server. Now you can control your printer from anywhere through your smartphone, tablet, or desktop.


Mastering the art of amazing 3D printing is about experimenting with unique and different designs until you build something you are satisfied with. So, after finding the best 3D modeling software for you, don't be afraid to dive headfirst into the world of 3D printing.

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